‘Peace for Paris’ Sketch Goes Viral
This past Friday’s terror attacks in Paris sparked outrage and empathy from those all over the world as people came together to mourn those who were killed in this tragic event. The event led to people coming together to bond online, with one image in particular being used to unite those wanting to express their condolences and grief.
The image was created by 32-year-old French designer and illustrator Jean Jullien. The sketch is simple yet compelling; it combines an image of the Eiffel Tower and the peace symbol. It was created by Jullien just minutes after hearing about the Paris attacks — and soon went viral, becoming a universal symbol of hope and strength.
Jullien stated the following about creating the image: “It was done on my lap, on a very loose sketchbook, with a brush and ink. I didn’t do any sketches. It was a reaction. The first thing that came to me was the idea of peace, that we needed peace. I was trying to look for a symbol of Paris, and obviously the Eiffel Tower was the first thing that sprang to my mind. I just connected both of them. You know, there wasn’t much work process behind that. It was more an instinctive, human reaction than an illustrator’s reaction.”
As of this past Monday morning, the image has been retweeted 60,000 times and liked over 160,000 times on Instagram. In regards to the fame Jullien has amassed from creating such a sketch, he states the following: “I’m sort of almost embarrassed to be getting that much exposure as a result of such a tragic event. However, it really shows that this is how we communicate not just as humans, but as a society. It can break down barriers. Sometimes it is difficult to shed light on what is true or not, but I think people have an instinctive sense of how to use these forms of communication. In cases like this, the things that need to spread, spread. And this seems to have been a very positive use of this form of hyper-communication.”
Jullien’s image is a key example of how people can come together during tragedies — and how symbols can often express what people are struggling to say.